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Robotic Specimen Handling System Unveiled

Pathology Department Holds Open House for Newly Renovated Lab

Medical staff members got their first official glimpse of Cedars-Sinai's new fully automated robotic specimen handling system this week at a special ribbon cutting ceremony in the Core Laboratory on September 19.

The robotic specimen handling system is currently one of only a few being used in Southern California. Known as the MPA ("Modular Pre-Analytics"), this unit accepts specimens in the original collection tubes, separates serum or plasma from the tubes, and makes appropriate small aliquots that are then sent directly to a series of automated analyzers for testing.

A medical laboratory assistant (pictured at right) loads collection tubes into the new robotic system in preparation for processing and testing.

Fully automated testing includes most common tests of the type found in basic and comprehensive metabolic panels, as well as a variety of hormones.

"The installation of this system and the remodeling of our main operations laboratory has been a long-awaited project of ours, and we are pleased to be able to share this accomplishment with all of you today," said Mahul B. Amin, M.D., chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, as medical center staff gathered in the fourth floor laboratory for the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

Over the next few weeks, further enhancements to the automated specimen handling system will continue to be made, according to Sergio Farber, Ph.D., associate director of the Core Laboratory. "When fully operational, the system will significantly reduce the amount of time necessary for test results to become available," he said.

Currently, the Core Laboratory of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine processes an average of 8,000 specimens per day for which approximately 38,000 tests are performed.